Download, print, and cut out the tag below and attach it to a fun Christmas gift as a volunteer appreciation.
By Sarah Humphrey
The holidays are upon us in all their splendid, colorful, and beautiful glory. What occurs in the next few months can be settled into a child’s mind for many years to come. Memories are made during this season that will turn into traditions, and those traditions may be handed down for generations to come.
How we spend our holiday season with the children around us will undoubtedly be one of the best investments we make. With a pull toward consumption and over-spending, culture can easily encourage us to go in the direction opposite of Christ. We can be pushed into a hurry mentality, with high emotion, a lot of sugar, and a loss of order, but what kids love most about the holidays is the presence, joy, comfort, and connection that Jesus offers through the celebrations of gratitude and His life.
Here is a list of small, intentional activities that foster connection, joy, and the life of Jesus. You can share these with your child or the children you serve through the holiday season:
- Create a simple, holiday bucket list with your children. What are a few activities or traditions they would like to see fulfilled during this season? Hearing where they want to connect will give you keys to helping them develop their faith walk!
- Think presence over presents! Try reading a story together that celebrates the season, playing a board game that teaches something valuable, or engaging in a form of service that helps kids express the spirit of generosity.
- Get in the kitchen together! Bake bread, cookies, or a sweet treat that can nourish the soul and the body. Give a few to your neighbors or friends!
- Sing a song. The holidays are the perfect time for learning new songs, Christmas carols, and even karaoke!
- Celebrate giving! Choose a day to have your kids do several chores around the house or classroom. Allow them to earn a “star” for each chore. After they’ve helped clean up, have them count all the stars, and then proceed to “buy” a gift for someone else using their earnings.
- Go see the lights! Take an evening to make some hot chocolate, hop in the car, and drive around town looking at holiday lights and decorations.
- Write a few handwritten notes, or color a few pictures for those in nursing homes in your area. During the holidays, it can brighten the day of the residents to find a thoughtful note from a young one!
- Pray more out loud. Allow the time around the table to enhance your prayers, gratitude, and offerings to God during this time of year (and throughout it!).
- Exercise in the cold weather! Go for a crisp walk together with a hat, coat, and scarf and breathe in the frosty air. It not only enhances your mood, but it also increases energy and helps make the inside days run smoother.
- Slow down. Sometimes it’s easier said than done, but less is always more. Enjoy the nearness of Jesus, be compassionate with those around you, give to others from the peace in your heart, and celebrate the gift of God in every memory made.
Sarah is a wife and homeschool mom to three kids while also working as an artist, author, life coach, and voice actor. Her writing and doodling can be found in her devotional, “40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood” and her voice in several commercials, children’s books, and audiobooks. Her education and love for holistic science also leads her to teach small workshops on health, wellness, and creativity. She loves encouraging women and kids to embrace self-care, utilize their gifts, and become leaders in the community around them. Her latest devotional for tweens, “Solomon Says” releases this November. Until then, you can follow her Instagram @the.table.and.bath!
During this upcoming holiday season, kids can naturally rush straight past Thanksgiving in great anticipation of all the treasures of Christmas. Now is the perfect time to teach kids the meaning and intent for these holidays—a time to be thankful for what we do have, not a quest for what we don’t; a time to be generous with the blessings God has graciously given us; a time to give and a time to help others.
Here are a few ideas to get the creative juices flowing.
Acts of Kindness jar—write down several acts of kindness on separate slips of paper that you and your family can do together or that kids can do by themselves. Frequently let your child pull a slip from the jar and encourage them to perform that act of kindness. Even better, suggest that the child show the kindness without the benefactor knowing who did it!
Paint rocks—gather several rocks and have a family rock painting night. The designs can be words of blessing or pictures. Take frequent walks through the neighborhood and randomly leave the rocks around the neighborhood or at specific houses.
Chalk pics—Write words such as, “We’re thankful for you!” in chalk on sidewalks in front of neighborhood families’ homes. Include names of the families if you know them.
Paint pumpkins—Write why you’re thankful for a family on a pumpkin or tie a personal note telling them why you’re thankful to have them as neighbors and friends. Leave the pumpkin on the porch as a surprise!
Take a Treat—Make homemade goodies such as Rice Krispy treats cut into leaf shapes (use food coloring for different shades) and wrap them up as special surprises to give to kids and families in the neighborhood.
As a reminder for your own kids at home:
Pumpkin Turkey—Get a large pumpkin. Add wooden skewers stuck into the pumpkin where the tail feather would be. Cut out feather shapes from construction paper. Encourage kids to add words or pictures telling what they’re thankful for. Tape the feathers to the skewers. The more thankfulness, the more feathers for the turkey!
Thankfulness Chain—Throughout November and December, make a construction paper chain by writing things and events of what your family is thankful for on strips of paper. Connect the strips and use the chain on the Christmas tree or hang it around the room as décor for Christmas.
Remember, your actions and attitude will be the best teaching example for your kids. The holidays can be a stressful time, especially for parents. Prayerfully, these activities will help as you remember all the ways that God has blessed you and your family through the year.
Klista Storts serves as an Editorial Ministry Specialist for Lifeway Kids. Before coming to Lifeway, she served as the Weekday and Preschool Specialist at the Tennessee Baptist Convention and as Director of Preschool Ministries at churches in Oklahoma and Tennessee. Klista has a passion for equipping leaders to share the love of Christ and lay foundations for conversion in the lives of kids.